WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- Imagine That Customs has provided the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and its racers plenty of award-winning designs over the years. Founded in 2006 by artist Jerron Settles, Imagine That Customs’ top-quality designs have been found on dragsters, door cars, junior dragsters, helmets, golf carts and non-racing applications including watercraft.
One of the best-known projects is an Imagine That Customs designed Junior Dragster given away each year to the IHRA SuperSeries World Champion. Settles said the reactions from the young racers when the Junior Dragster is unveiled at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals at Memphis International Raceway makes it all worth it.
Settles has a deep love and appreciation for drag racing. His father was an accomplished bracket racer and Jerron also raced for some time. He spoke with us on how he got started, some of the design process and some of his most memorable projects.
WHEN DID YOU START WITH DESIGNING AND PAINTING RACE CARS?
Settles: I started painting part-time in 2003. I was a mechanic full-time, but I always liked the design aspect. I’ve been around racing my whole life. In 2006, I decided to start painting full-time. I shut my tool box down, bought more paint guns and started painting race cars full-time.”
WHO COMES UP WITH THE DESIGNS, YOU OR THE CLIENT?
Settles: “I do 99 percent of the designs. Every now and then, I have a customer who brings his own design. I’ve done all, but six or seven of the cars I’ve painted.”
HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE ALL THE UNIQUE DESIGNS?
Settles: “Usually a customer will call about a paint job and I will get some information from them. I find out which colors they don’t like. Some racers don’t like green or yellow. So, we get that out of the way. Then we see if they’re looking for something classy, something wild or something mild.
“I pick their brains a little bit, then scribbling it on paper and then, we digitize it. Once we get something close, we send them a couple of rough drafts and digitize the process. I’ve been fortunate to know how to put colors together. It comes with experience, doing it for so long, you’re able to read how things are going.”
DO YOU EVER GET STARTED ON A PROJECT AND THEN SEE MAYBE THIS WILL WORK BETTER?
Settles: “There are times when I start on something and it will change halfway through. Or I will do a rendering and I will see where something needs to be stretched out, shortened or whatever. I won’t veer far away from the rendering. There are times I’ve added something or taken out something once I’ve got going. It’s rare you have a rendering 100 percent exactly like the car. You always have to tweak it.”
HOW MANY CARS HAVE YOU PAINTED AND WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORABLE PROJECTS?
Settles: “I tried to count recently, and it was over 700 dragsters. There was a time I was doing 30, 40, 50 dragsters a year and the most we did in a year was 57. Door cars, I’ve done probably around 300. It would be interesting to know, but you don’t want to know because you start getting tired.
“I’ve painted cell phones, mailboxes, a bunch of cool helmets for really famous people over the years. I’ve painted tractor-trailers and off-shore powerboats. I don’t know what would be considered the most interesting, but I would say painting some drones for the University of Maryland would rank up there as one of the coolest projects.”
For more information about Imagine That Customs visit Imaginethatcustoms.com or call 301-807-6608 to go over your dream design today.